A U.K. mommy blogger has admitted to anonymously bullying her fellow “momfluencers” saying she “got caught up” in the competitive world of social media.
Clemmie Hooper, the 34-year-old mother of four and midwife behind the Instagram account Mother of Daughters revealed she had been using the gossip site Tattle Life to bully several of her contemporaries using the handle, AliceInWanderLust.
Hooper’s confession was prompted by an Instagram post from Laura Rutherford, a London-based blogger also known as “That Mummy Smile,” directed to “Alice” who had been bullying her online.
“I don’t owe it to you to remain quiet. You’ve goaded and encouraged trolls to tear my reputation apart for the last eight months. Mine and a handful of other influencers - and for what gain?” Rutherford wrote. “No, I won’t talk to you or discuss with you your justifications for online bullying. There is absolutely no justification for online bullying.”
Rutherford said the behaviour was a “betrayal of trust” and said the constant negativity has taken a toll on her wellbeing.
“To say I’m hurting is an understatement. What gives you the right to play with people’s mental health?” she continued. “For so long I’ve had to grin and bear the derogatory comments, the angst of what people think of me, where the malice has come from. You’ve looked me in the eye and asked me how I’m doing when I’ve been at my lowest. How dare you?”
Rutherford encouraged “Alice” to “do the right thing” and come forward.
According to The Telegraph, Hooper took to Instagram stories to own up to the bullying after several followers speculated she was the person Rutherford had been referring to.
“Earlier this year, I became aware of a website that had thousands of comments about my family and I...,” Hooper wrote. “Reading them made me feel extremely paranoid and affected me much more than I knew at the time. I decided without telling anyone else that I would make an anonymous account so that this group of people would believe I was one of them, of that I could maybe change their opinions from the inside to defend my family and I.”
The Tattle Life thread dedicated to “Mother of Daughters” included comments by Hooper under using the “AliceInWanderlust” handle defending the blog’s content against some of her critics. To convince group members that she wasn’t in fact, the woman behind the Instagram account, Hooper even joined in on bashing her own husband, Simon Hooper, who runs his on Instagram account, “Father of Daughters.” At one point, Hooper referred to her husband as a “tw-t” and “a twerp”
Hooper said participating in the chat forums became “all consuming” and the entire incident “grew bigger than I knew how to handle.”
Aside from making up a back story about her life and making digs at her real-life husband, Hooper said she turned on fellow bloggers to throw community members off after many speculated she fact might be the woman behind “Mother of Daughters.”
“I regret it all and am deeply sorry- I know this has caused a lot of pain,” Hooper continued. “Undoubtedly I got lost in this online world and the more I became engrossed in the negative commentary, the more the situation escalated. Engaging in this was a huge mistake. I will take responsibility for what happened and I am just so sorry for the hurt I have caused everyone involved, including my family and friends.”
Despite her apology, many of Hooper’s 662,000 followers have written the blogger to tell her how disappointed they are in her behaviour.
“I think it calls into question your professional integrity,” one follower wrote. “You have a responsibility as a professional, a mother and a woman not to participate in bullying which is exactly what you have done. I wouldn’t want someone who has done what you have done by my midwife. You have chosen this lifestyle and you have a massive following, it’s so disappointing that you have chosen to go down this route whatever the reasons you have stated. Also unfollowing.”
“I just think you must so be unhappy and miserable to do such a thing and I hope that you can get the help/support you quite clearly need,” another added.
Neither Hooper nor her husband have yet to post a response to the user feedback on her Instagram account.
Rutherford, who has yet to address Hooper by name, told followers that the recent hoopla surrounding the blogging community has caused her to reflect on what’s truly important.
“When the internet and social media can be a dark and gloomy place, just remember the most important people you have around you. They’re the ones that matter,” she captioned a recent photo. “I honestly feel like I’ve been living in some odd Instagram world these last few days which frankly has shocked and scared me in equal measures. The power of words, the spreading of wildfire, the conversations, the consequences. Family always provide a great distraction from shit don’t they?”